Iowa City and Coralville Area Museums

Heritage Museum of Johnson County

DISCOVER Johnson County's past in the unique stories of our facinating people. We welcome you to the Heritage Museum of Johnson County to meet history face to face!

LOCATED in the 1876 Old Coralville Public School, the Heritage Museum features changing exhibits which vividly illustrate the culture and heritage of Iowa and Johnson County.

A TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY school room gives visitors an appreciation of the days when school children drank from a common dipper, and 'ciphered' on hand-held slates.




Museum of Art

Located notrth of the Art Building along the west bank of the Iowa River, the Museum of Art is a major element among the cultural resources of eastern Iowa. The museum's permanent collection totals more than 9,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, photographs, and decorative art.

The Eliott Collection, a gift from Leone and the late Owen Elliot of Cedar Rapids, forms the nucleus of the museum collection and includes nineteenth and twentieth-century paintings by such artists as Picasso, Matisse, Gris, Chagall, and Leger, as well as European and American silver and Chinese jades. The Stanley Collection, bequeathed by C. Maxwell and Elizabeth Stanley of Muscatine, is one of the most important collections of African sculpture in the country. The museum also includes Oceanic, pre-Columbian, and Near Eastern art.

The Carver Wing, a gift to the University from the late Roy J. Carver of Muscatine, includes a large special exhibition gallery, a print study room, and the Lasansky Room. The latter houses a collection of prints by University of Iowa artist Mauricio Lasansky, which was given to the museum by Webster B. and Gloria Gelman of Iowa City. Also in the Carver Wing are Lasansky's "Nazi Drawings," on extended loan from the Richard S. Levitt Foundation of Des Moines.

The museum presents a wide variety of loan exhibitions from around the country in addition to organizing exhibitions from its own collection.

Museum special events include lectures by artists, scholars, and collectors; Music in the Museum, a Sunday afternoon concert series; and tours of exhibitions and the permanent collection, children's workshops, and symposia. There is an active Friends organization proividing events and special opportunities to museum members. Volunteer opportunities are available in various areas of the museum.

Admission is free to all exhibitions. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Guided tours for groups or individuals may be arranged with three weeks' notice.

Museum of Natural History

Housed in Macbride Hall, the museum includes more than one million specimens from microscopic fossils of ancient pollen to mastodon skulls. Founded in 1858, the museum is the oldest university museum west of the Mississippi River.

Many of the collections rank with those of the top museums of North America and are used extensively by scientists and scholars in their research. The specimens on exhibit are the products of University directed expeditions to many parts of the world as well as private donations from numerous individuals. Materials have been collected from as far away as the Arctic Sea, New Zealand, and the Fiji Islands.

Bird Hall -- Of special interest is the historic (1914) Laysan island cyclorama with its 138-foot panoramic background by noted dioramist Charles A. Corwin. Other exhibits present more than 1,100 mounted North American birds, including nearly all species recorded from Iowa.

Mammal Hall -- Outstanding mammal displays include a specimen of the rare giant panda from China, a complete skeleton of a 48-foot Atlantic right whale, and musk oxen from the Barren Grounds of northern Canada.

Iowa Hall -- Exhibits in the museum's Iowa Hall gallery illustrate Iowa's natural heritage--it's geology, archaeology, and ecology. The gallery's unifying concept is time. As visitors move through three interrelated exhibit sequences, they witness the span of five billion years.

The lobby of Iowa Hall, with its distinctive turn-of-the-century design, features a small museum shop and several exhibits celebrating the pioneering work of Iowa's early naturalists.

Beginning with the first major diorama--a scene depicting the arrival of the French explorers Marquette and Joilet at the Mississippi River in June 1673--vistors walk through exhibits featuring canyons of Iowa's oldest rock, coral reefs in an ancient ocean that once flooded Iowa, an Ice Age giant ground sloth, and prairie, forest, and marsh habitats. Iowa's Native American cultures are featured in exhibits ranging from the Paleo-Indians of 12,500 years ago to the present-day Mesquakie.

Museum outreach programming includes an annual lecture and field trip series, children's classes and workshops, and an Adult Nature Retreat held each August at Lake Okoboji. Volunteer opportunities also are available.

Museum hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed on University and national holidays. Advance reservations must be made for school and organized group tours. Visitors should enter the museum's Iowa Hall gallery through the collumned East Portico of Macbride Hall.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

Located in West Branch, ten miles east of Iowa City on I-80, attractions include the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum, a Quaker meeting house, a blacksmith shop, Hoover's birthplace, the first schoolhouse, and the Hoover gravesite. Call 319-643-5301 (library-museum) or 319-643-2541 (historic site) for more information.

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics Medical Museum

The Medical Museum's exhibits on current and historic health topics use artifacts and interactive displays to provide a stimulating experience. 319-356-7106.

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